Google has just announced it will integrate social results from people you are connected to into its results pages. This is somewhat like an extension of personalised results, but also different. Google social search was first lauched in October 2009 and looked like this:
To get the social results you were required to manually select the ‘social’ results type and that would show results from your connections on Twitter, Facebook, Gmail and more. With the latest update, social results from your circle will show directly on result pages without you explicitly asking for them:
As you can see the first result is annotated with a blog post that was shared on Twitter. Google says the social search element will influence rankings, making sites appear higher than normal based on an individual’s relationships. The ranking impact will be different based on how strong your connections are, and different people will see different results. Facebook likes are not a part of the equation for the moment.
Who will see the new social annotations?
You will only see the results if you’ve connected your Google Profile to your social networks. If you haven’t done this, you will not see any social results appearing.
What does this mean for business and search marketers?
This increases the importance of your social media and content strategy. Put simply, the more your content is shared and posted on social networks, the more traffic you will get. What is unclear at this stage is the sentiment analysis factor. Will Google try to differentiate between the positive and negative? Another point is that I don’t think a large % of Google search users have connected up their Google profiles to their social networks (me included).
Google’s official video